I didn't know I had a mouse phobia until my son was about nine months old. It was in the first cold nights of fall and we had several bold, destructive mice move in--with out even asking.
They got into my pantry and bit through bags of flour, sugar, and other bagged foods. They also tore apart dish towels and left their droppings everywhere. My mother was always afraid of mice and we mildly teased her for it. Having a baby in the house completely changed my perspective of the rodents. Now they were not only destructive and gross, but they were diseased and clever and fast. Their living in my home--my families refuge--was abhorrent to my protective mother sensibilities. Mice and I haven't gotten along since. I won't even look at the horrid little things at the pet store. We are enemies.
Here is the problem. A lot of people hate mice and rats as much as I do, but none of them are children's book authors. Some of the most beloved children's stories feature darling, thoughtful, gentle little mice. Mice and rats are NOT darling or thoughtful or gentle. They are ferocious beasts that use their small size to torment mothers everywhere. LIES! Why are books like The Giver and Huckleberry Finn and the Bible banned when there are the evil stories of Stuart Little, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, The Cricket in Times Square, and the Ralph S. Mouse trilogy. At least Templeton in Charlotte's Web is portrayed as the sneaky, self-centered, rotten-egg-loving creature true to his real life siblings: rats.
You see, as you read these books, the author tricks you into forgetting that you are not reading about really small children, but about filthy rodents. Do not fall for it, my dear people. It is time to rise up, proclaim what you know to be true! Mice are mice and rats are rats! They are not Stuart or Ralph (I won't even start with Mickey or Remy).
I will be at the head of the protest, but first I have to finish this lovely book about a really small child named Despereaux.